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B. Artwick  

About me




  History of Microsoft Flight Simulator

HelloAbout my website

It was in 2003 when, being a great simulator flying buff and an owner of a reasonably large collection of flight simulators, like legendary DID's Retaliator, Spectrum HoloByte's Falcon 3.0 and many more, I became seriously interested in the history of the flight simulation legend – Microsoft Flight Simulator. I decided to cover the development of all of its versions ever released. At that time, however, I did not have the foggiest idea how difficult this task would turn out to be. Microsoft Flight Simulator is not only one of the oldest computer flight simulator, but its whole family is the largest in the world. This website actually IS NOT dedicated to history of flying, IS NOT dedicated to generally all flight simulation programs, like above mentioned. This website IS dedicated to the detailed description of the Microsoft Flight Simulator history. This in fact means, that it includes subLOGIC Flight Simulator and few relate add-ons as well. In my opinion, it is necessary to save the information for history. My website started in 2005 and I hope that it will be the most accurate and valuable source of information for you.

My first and at the beginnings also the only source of information was Internet where you can find either masses of files dedicated to individual versions (Apple II FS2, MSFS2) or special websites that try to follow the whole history. You can find either very brief websites or more detailed and its authors come from various countries, for example from Italy, Australia, Italy (the other one which my pictures!) or a very nice article by Ulrich Klein from Germany (on FlightSim). There is also an article about history of Flight Simulator on Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is not much correct and full of mistakes.

The Flight Simulator genealogy is fairly well covered from version 3.0 onwards. Nevertheless, earlier versions are much more difficult to track down. Unfortunately, although Internet provides an immense amount of useful information, it is also a source of all conceivable misinformation. To make the matters worse, some erroneous facts are frequently adopted by authors of new articles without proper authentication. For example, they repeatedly claimed, that subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, the first ever, was released in January 1979 or even in 1978. It is a great error!

This is the promotional movie for the Flight Simulator History Website.

Of course I found the Jos Grupping’s website (now already my good friend from the Netherlands) which turned out to be the most comprehensive and accurate source of my first information. Jos has been working on the Flight Simulator history for several years. As Jos is an active type of person and has some other interests, there was still a lot to be done in research of Flight Simulator history. That is why I decided to contribute with my own website and my confirmed information.

Flight Simulator History Website

History research

After some time I realized that I would need my own copies of all the versions. This would be the best way how to find out the years of release, facts about authors and graphics. Otherwise, I would always have to face misinformation, errors and inaccuracies. However, it is not easy to get your own copies, particularly very old ones, Japanese editions and special releases. First, it was necessary to determine the actual beginning of the Flight Simulator history, then to sort out its versions and match the computer platforms for which those versions were designed.

Part of my collection

Part of my collection

OK, let‘s begin with some basic facts

There are various flight simulation programs with very similar or even with identical names which have nothing to do with subLOGIC/Microsoft Flight Simulator. For instance, Mind Systems Corporations released AIRSIM-1 Flight Simulator for Apple II in 1981, Psion released in 1982 a game called Flight Simulation for ZX 81 and Flight Simulation for ZX Spectrum. During the years 1982 - 1985 were released few games with exactly the same name Flight Simulator, which HAVE NOTHING to do with subLOGIC's and Microsoft's namesakes. For example Psion's Flight Simulator for Timex Sinclair 1000 (1982), Psion's Flight Simulator for Timex Sinclair 2068 (1983), Artic Computing Flight Simulator for ZX Spectrum (1983), Myrddin Software Flight Simulator for Amstrad CPC (1984) and Microdeal Flight Simulator for Sinclair QL (1985). You can find probably many more similar examples. My website IS dedicated to the only Flight Simulator family tree which was started by Bruce Artwick.

Two men of subLOGIC - Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment

Two men of subLOGIC - Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment

The very first version of Flight Simulator 1 was created by Bruce Artwick under his company label subLOGIC. It came out exactly on 31 December 1979 and hit markets in January 1980. It was not in January 1979 as stated Wikipedia and many other sources. The first issues were designed for the Apple II and TRS-80. Later, the same producer released another versions designated with Roman II for Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari (8bit), Atari ST, Amiga, Data General/One. There were also versions for NEC PC-9801, NEC PC-8801, Color Computer 3 and MSX. Simultaneously, Artwick (subLOGIC) also prepared releases designated Flight Simulator 1 for IBM PC, Apple Macintosh and Texas Instruments Professional Computer, Flight Simulator 2 for IBM PC and Tandy 1000/ 1200HD/ 2000. They were released under Microsoft label. These parallel releases for such a wide range of computers caused immense chaos. Nevertheless, nowadays it is quite normal that a PC game is created by one company and published by another one. Things got even more confused when Artwick left subLOGIC (late 1988). SubLOGIC with Stu Moment went on producing new flight simulators (for example subLOGIC Flight Assignment: Airline Transport Pilot or subLOGIC Flight Light) and flight simulation related accessories (mentioned elsewhere). It should be pointed out that Artwick then founded a new company BAO and programmed further versions for Microsoft until the end of 1995 when BAO was swallowed by Microsoft for good. Then Bruce Artwick sold all Flight Simulator rights to Microsoft. Microsoft developed Flight Simulator until 2008. In 2009 they sold source code to Lockheed Martin which continues with development of the product called Prepar3D (the first version was issued in 2010). In 2012 Microsoft released Flight, but it was not understood as a successor of Flight Simulator. In 2014 Dovetail Games announced a licensing agreement with Microsoft to distribute Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition and to develop further products based on Microsoft's technology.

The family tree of Microsoft Flight Simulator

The family tree of Microsoft Flight Simulator (press the picture to zoom). Details in the history and timeline section.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00 and X

Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00

Few important notes about the research

As I have been flying simulators for a considerable long period, my collection comprises many old and present versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, getting earlier versions as well as versions for other computer platforms was much more difficult. Obviously, they were withdrawn from the market long time ago. Therefore I had to buy them either in eBay, Yahoo!Japan auctions or elsewhere. I spent a fortune!!! Thus, after several years my collection was complete.

Still, there was another problem. Most of the early FS versions were designed for other computers than IBM PC or they were designed for very old IBM PCs with OS DOS, with 5.25 inch floppy drivers. Therefore original computer platforms or their emulators were necessary. The emulators are the computer programs, which can run another programs, also Flight Simulators, created for the other type of computer, for example for Apple II, on some current computer. So, you can run Flight Simulator for Apple II, Amiga or other kind of computer, on your table PC or notebook. You do not need to have the original hardware, which is hard to buy and it is very expensive. It is even possible, with the proper emulator, to run Microsoft Flight Simulator on your mobile phone. BUT! Of course, it is a tricky way to get the old FS running with the emulator. I use mainly DOSBox and MESS for Windows.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.12 for IBM PC subLOGIC Flight Simulator II for Amiga

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2 for IBM PC and subLOGIC Flight Simulator II for Amiga running on a mobile phone

At last, I managed to run and evaluate all my packages, and retrieved information. Unfortunately, even though you own genuine media and manuals, you can never be sure about the exact year of release. In some cases the year of copyright does not correspond to the actual year of release. So, I had to use other sources of information as well. In this way I have compiled the Flight Simulator complete history. Now it is time to present it to you.

You can find a brief description of the website news on the right edge or follow the link to the special news page. There are the timelines with subLOGIC/Microsoft Flight Simulator issues, the description of all released box covers, many screenshots of all versions and the scenery disks, there are some detailed pages like the one dedicated to the first ever Flight Simulator and finally I recommend you my complete Microsoft Flight Simulator history movie.


© 2005 - 2016 Josef  Havlík


NEWS (follow the link):

June 17, 2016

Dovetail Games Flight School has been released. What is your opinion?

Dovetail Games Flight School

March 18, 2016

The comprehensible family tree of Microsoft Flight Simulator

The family tree of Microsoft Flight Simulator

March 7, 2016

Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D already 3.x

Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v3.1

February 23, 2016

Dovetail Games Flight Simulator announced to launch late 2016.

FSX Premium Edition

October 28, 2015

I added few next information about Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment.

Stu Moment 2014

October 7, 2015

I present a new main page dedicated to Bruce Artwick and his subLOGIC!

Stu Moment and Bruce Artwick

August 24, 2015

Do you want to fly very old versions of Flight Simulator? Do you want to see whole history of MS Flight Simulator in movie? Try my new download.


August 14, 2015

33 years old MS Flight Simulator 1. 00 user manual for download.

February 20, 2015

Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D v2.5 released.


December 18, 2014

MSFS X: Steam edition released.

MSFS X: Steam edition

July 26, 2012

Next development of MS Flight canceled.

MS Flight

February 29, 2012

Special date: new MS Flight released.

Microsoft Flight Website

November 15, 2011

New 3:33 min. promotional  movie. The complete 37:33 min. history movie is now on-line on My YouTube channel

November 14, 2010

See an interview with Bruce Artwick !

Bruce Artwick - June 3, 2010

March 10, 2010

The 5th web anniversary!!! News here.

March 10, 2005

The best news is that this website was launched.